Thursday, February 27, 2014

Message of Freedom

          The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
                    because the Lord has anointed me
                    to proclaim good news to the poor.
          He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
                    to proclaim freedom for the captives
                    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
          to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour
                    and the day of vengeance for our God,
          to comfort all who mourn,
                    and to provide for those who grieve in Zion -
          to bestow on them a crown of beauty
                    instead of ashes,
          the oil of joy
                    instead of mourning,
          and a garment of praise
                    instead of a spirit of despair.
          They will be called oaks of righteousness,
                    a planting of the Lord
                    for the display of His splendor.
          They will rebuild the ancient ruins
                    and restore the places long devastated;
          they will rebuild the ruined cities
                    that have been devastated for generations.
                                                                           (Isaiah 66:1-4)

These words were originally written to a nation in captivity. They were declaring the hope to come when God brought them out of their captivity. It was pointing towards a better future for them.

The first part of this passage is well-known because Jesus quoted the words as the beginning of His public ministry (see Luke 4:18-19). These words form the basis for what Jesus did while He was on earth ministering.

When Jesus quoted these words at the beginning of His public ministry, He also declared that what is spoken in these verses is available to us in our lives today. We can learn the reality of it for how we live today.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me" (vs. 1)

God desires for us to know the reality spoken of in these verses in our lives. That's why He sent Jesus to us and why Jesus used these words as a declaration of what His ministry on earth was all about.

"to proclaim good news to the poor" (vs. 1)

Jesus' entire message was one of good news to those in need. We are all in need of God's freedom in our lives. The message that God brings of the availability of that freedom is good news. Because we are in need of it, we are the poor that the message is for.

This passage goes on to talk about the specifics of what this good news is and what it means for our lives. It will take a few more posts to really delve into it all.

As we go, you will see that we have to get involved in it to experience what is being talked about. If these words are going to make a difference in our lives, it will require us to do something.

It's not passive - it's active. It's not anything we achieve by human effort, but to live in it does require that we get moving.

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